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November 28, 2001 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-11-28

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NOVEMBER 28, 2001



In need of offense, Blue
turns to defensemen

Falcons pose realistic
threat to 'M' on road

By Seth Klempner
Daily Sports Writer

This past weekend, Michigan
defensemen answered the coaches' call
tosstep into plays and score - providing
four of the team's seven goals.
Whether it was taking a shot from the
point or pinching up to make a play,
defenders were finding ways to score.
After junior Jeff Jillson departed early
for the NHL, many suspected the offen-
sive production of the blue line would
suffer. Instead, players like sophomore
Mike Komisarek and freshman Eric
Werner (who scored 42 points in his
Points by the 'D'
Michigan's blueliners have account-
ed for 21 percent of the team's
points this season.
Name GP G A Pts
Mike Komisarek 13 5 5 10
Eric Werner 13 0 6 6
Jay Vancik 13 1 2 3
Andy Burnes 13 0 1 1
Brandon Rodgers 9 0 1 1
Totals 6 15 21

junior hockey league last year) have
stepped up to provide some offense.
Even senior defenseman Jay Vancik
was able to take advantage of his oppor-
tunities. On Friday night against Min-
nesota, he scored his first goal since
scoring against Queens College in an
exhibition match earlier this season.
"I think (offensive play) is something
that (Michigan coach) Red (Berenson)
is stressing this year a lot more than he
did last year," sophomore defenseman
Andy Burnes said. "When a defense-
man can join the rush and turn a three-
on-three into a four-on-three, that is one
of the.things you can do to catch the
other team off guard."
What has compounded the need for
defensive scoring is the lack of produc-
tion from some of the Michigan for-
wards. Coaches hope that defensive
attacking can open things up for for-
wards down low and in the corners.
"We need (defensive play making)
because we are not creating any goals
from our forwards right now," assistant
coach Mel Pearson said. "The last cou-
ple of weeks, we have been trying to get
our defensemen to become more


Michigan defenseman Eric Werner has five assists in the team's last five games.

involved offensively and just get up the
ice with the play."
Komisarek already surpassed his goal
production from last year (four) when he
scored his third goal of the weekend and
his fifth of the season on Saturday night.
In addition, Werner has also provided
an offensive threat from the blue line.
While the freshman has yet to score a
goal this season, he leads all defense-
man with six assists. He has been play-
ing strong of late with five assists in as

many games and two multi-assist games
for the Wolverines.
Werner, a slippery player with good
instincts, is considered to be the most
offensive defenseman for Michigan.
These skills have earned him a spot
working the point with Mike Cammal-
leri on the first powerplay unit for much
of this season.
"He is comfortable in that role,"
Berenson said. "He also sees open
seams to make passes."

By Steve Jackson
Daily Sports Writer
If the Michigan basketball team
wants to avoid back-to-back road
losses against Mid-American Con-
ference teams, several questions
need to be answered.
Tonight at 7 p.m., the Wolverines
will travel to Bowling Green,
which already has proved it can
play with the big boys of college
After opening the season with an
82-78 overtime victory over 2001
Sweet 16 participant Mississippi,
the Falcons posted a
73-70 win over
Delaware, a 20-game ANDERs
winner last season.
Washington coach Who: Michig;
Bob Bender, whose Bowling Gree
team dealt Bowling when: 7:OO
Green its lone defeat TV: Not broa
this season, went so far . The X
as to call them an look to avoidI
NCAA Tournament ond straight t
team. Mid-American
Bowling Green (3-1)
sits at No. 22 in the latest RPI rat-
ings, light years. ahead of the 210Oth-
ranked Wolverines (2-1).
On Friday, Western Michigan
displayed tremendous outside
shooting ability, jumping all over
Michigan with a 15-2 run that con-
sisted of five 3-point shots. Despite
a late surge, the Wolverines left
Kalamazoo with a 79-73 loss.
The most pressing question for
Michigan is: Can it improve its
perimeter defense?
It better, because the Falcons
have already proven their ability to
open up with a hot hand at home.
On Saturday night, Bowling
Green set a school and MAC
record by draining its first 10 3-
pointers. The Falcons went on to
defeat Defiance, a Division III
school in Ohio, by the score of
"We don't depend a lot on our
outside shooting," Bowling Green

coach Dan Dakich said. "We could-
n't be that hot again in an empty
gym. But when people give us the
open shot, we'll make it."
Even after dealing with the chal-
lenges that Bowling Green pres-
ents, Michigan must still overcome
its road woes.
Last year, the Wolverines were 2-
11 away from Crisler Arena. Michi-
gan has managed a combined road
record of 9-34 in Brian Ellerbe's
three seasons as head coach.
During the Fab Five era, Steve
Fisher coached his team to a record
of 32-9 outside of Ann Arbor and

an (21) at
n (3-1)
p.m. tonight
dcast locally
(760 AM)
Nolverines will
losing to a sec-
eam from the

two Final Four
appearances in as
many years.
If the Wolverines
want to return to the
glory days of old, win-
ning on the road will
be a key part of that
Finally, Michigan
must find a way to
rebound after its poor
showing against West-


Women's hoops hopes to raise intensity

By Charles Paradis
Daily Sports Writer

Defense may not always be glorious, but it is
imperative. Offense sells tickets, but defense wins
This fact is not lost on the Michigan women's
basketball team. Coming off two impressive offen-
sive performances last weekend, including Sun-
day's 62-percent shooting from the field against
Syracuse, the Wolverines (3-1) are confident that
their offense can fill the seats.
But Michigan also showed it can play defense to
win games as it put together two imposing defen-
sive halves over the weekend. The problem is
these two halves' came in different games.
Against New Hampshire on Friday, Michigan
put together a superb second half of defense as it
held the Wildcats to just 19 points on 28-percent
shooting. Then on Sunday against Syracuse, the
Wolverines played excellent defense in the first

half, holding the Orangewomen to just 31 points.
But in each of these games, the defense was
only able to hold up for one half. Michigan needs
to find a way to play good defense for 40 minutes.
The key to this lies in keeping up the defensive
"When our defensive intensity went down, obvi-
ously so did our defense," coach Sue Guevara
The Wolverines have been stressing defensive
intensity in practice this week. It is the intensity in
practice that translates to good defense in the
games. For example, Stephanie Gandy has been a
solid defensive player for the Wolverines, due in
large part to her work ethic.
"I think I'm one of the top defenders on the
team because I work so hard," Gandy said. "(Gue-
vara) always puts me on the best player, period."
Playing primarily on the wing, Gandy can find
herself isolated with no one to help her. It is at
these times that denying the middle of the floor

becomes crucial.
"I try to keep them out of the middle," Gandy
said. "I always have the mentality that if my player
goes down the middle the whole defense is dead."
Despite high intensity, at times players will get
beaten. This is when the second part of the Michi-
gan defensive scheme becomes imperative. If she
is beaten, Gandy immediately calls out to the rest
of her team that someone is in the middle.
This type of communication is essential to play-
ing defense. Talking on defense makes the other
defenders' jobs easier.
"Sometimes you get caught watching your play-
er and it helps a lot when someone is calling shot,"
Guevara said.
The Wolverines place great importance on team
defense, which is a result of good communication
on the floor. It falls to the players to call out
screens, picks and back picks for each other.
"If you are beat and you don't call help, your
teammate won't know you're beat," Gandy said.

ern Michigan.
There are several schools of
thought on how the Wolverines
should do this.
Some players are taking the loss
in stride, while others are furious,
awaiting their chance to shine.
"We can't sit here with our heads
down," said sophomore forward
Bernard Robinson. "This was just
the third game of the season."
"Every game, we have to play
like we're down, even if we're up
30," said freshman guard Domman-
ic Ingerson. "We have to fight
through this."
Michigan coach Tommy Amaker
has taken a wait-and-see attitude.
"This is a long horse race,"
Amaker said after the Western
Michigan loss. "This is some
adversity that we are going to face
right here.
"I am anxious to see how we are
going to respond."






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